Emphasis on Personal...Chef

Although I’ve always loved cooking, my schooling was in anthropology and women’s studies. Though I fantasized about culinary school, I didn’t allow myself to seriously consider cooking as a career. Instead I studied people, sociology, and culture.

After graduation, and sick of academia, I got a job in a kitchen where I found that working with my hands was extremely satisfying. And the beauty was, I didn’t have to give up my interest in people.

As I’ve moved from conference center and restaurant cooking to catering and now personal chef work, I’ve been pleased to learn that cooking is a fascinating way to interact with people.

Working for Lola, the Filipina professional chef and owner of a vegetarian restaurant where I sauteed for eight years, I discovered that Filipinos tend to point with their lips (by pooching them in the desired direction). I also learned how to make adobo, a mouth-watering dish of slow simmered pork or chicken with white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper.

Much is revealed when meeting with clients to discuss their wedding meals. While many couples share the pants in the family, often the bride has ultimate say in the food decisions. I was fascinated to see some women rudely dismiss their fiance ©es’ suggestions and wondered how their marriages would fair.

Once I gave a family notice after a year of being their personal chef, because of plans to travel abroad for six months. The mother was so sad and angry that she cried because she’d never been able to provide healthy food on a regular basis for her four children until I came along.

Then there was the fellow on a very strict diet: vegetables only, no garlic or salt, and only lemon and cayenne pepper for seasoning. I would throw eight different veggies in water and boil it and for this he paid me extravagantly. He was perfectly capable of cooking for himself; he just wanted the company. He’d lean on the door jam and chat aboutwhatever the whole time I was there.

Many of my clients are good cooks–they just lack the time to make their own food. Johanna runs a thriving online business, home schools her children, and is doing all the general contracting for the new addition on their 100 percent environmentally friendly home. Her house is always abuzz with phone calls, workmen, tutors, house cleaners, and children as I prepare enormous batches (for freezing) of organic, dairy- and gluten-free fish curries, chicken gumbos, and lamb stews.

Clients like Johanna balk when I offer to a salad or rice. “I think I can handle that much!” Whereas other less multi-tasking clients get flustered when I don’t give detailed enough instructions for how to heat up soup.

Whether it’s therapy, sociological research, or cross-cultural communication, cooking continues to satisfy my interest in food and people.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            4 Program(s) Found
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            • Offers career-focused programs in allied health, business, and computer technology, and more.
            • On-the-job training available through externships, internships, and clinical placements.
            • Graduates in good standing can take refresher sessions in courses at no additional cost.
            • Day and evening class options are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            Good for Working Adults
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
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            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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